Hello and thank you for your letter:
It sounds like you are going through some horrible things right now and I’m sorry that you are suffering. I could say something stupid like, you’re young, you’ll be fine, but in all honesty, you won’t feel fine for awhile. You are confused, scared, angry, tired, and very, very depressed. Thoughts of killing yourself or someone else are normal when you are feeling this terrible. You are absolutely right in saying that you need help. You do need some professional help, and maybe even some medications. School counselors are good at what they can do, but they are often limited by time and the ability to prescribe medications.
You are just entering adolescence, the hardest part of your life, and to have it complicated by losing your beloved grandmother, your home, your friends, and all the pain you have suffered makes this time nearly unbearable. This time of your life is supposed to be about discovering life, yourself, and how to function in the real world. Unfortunately, right now you are grieving losses.
The good news is that you will work through these things. We never “get over” losses, but we grow through them. It will probably take another year, but things will begin to look better. You have every reason to be afraid of losing more people. You have learned too young and too deeply that tragedy can strike. It’s not fair, it’s really not. Being afraid of losing more things like your home, your friends and your family is a normal response to a very abnormal group of tragic events. That just makes us want to cling even more strongly to those things and people who are important to us. As far as being supportive, other family members and friends often don’t want to talk about things because they are hurting too. They fear opening up wounds that are just beginning to heal, and avoid discussion. Not healthy, perhaps, but a very common way of coping.
You mentioned the mood swings and the fear that you may be bipolar. It may be possible. But the only way that you will be able to find out is again, by going to a doctor. You should also get a medical checkup, since that can rule out things that can make you tired, etc. What I would suggest is that you ask your family to get you to a doctor who can diagnose what is going on with you and perhaps prescribe something that can help. A child psychiatrist would probably be best at this time, since your pediatrician probably doesn’t specialize in depression, loss and mood swings, let alone cutting.
Also, ask your parents if they will take you to a professional child therapist, and you can locate one in your area at Find A Therapist.
But, understand this: if you take one thing away from what I have written, I want you to know that you are NOT damaged. You are depressed, wounded, and very sad. But not damaged. You are a very bright (yes, I can tell by your writing), honest, good hearted young lady and you deserve the best help that professionals have to offer.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Diana Walcutt